This is where I keep track of periodicals and media mentions of academic work and quotes.
Professor Welch’s research (with Professor Stephen Stubben) on internal whistleblower systems has uncovered several counter-intuitive findings. Multiple news stories and public debacles showcase the vocational cost of employees speaking up at work. However, Professor Welch’s research shows that most internal hotline reports don’t have retaliation, internal hotline reports help stop problems before they get worse, and the average manager has the right approach to investigating reports. Importantly, his research shows that firms with more internal reports about problems are often healthier, less susceptible to material lawsuits, and face fewer fines.
—>NPR Marketplace Morning Report Interview. (November 1, 2018) —>Radical Compliance. Matt Kelly. (November 1, 2018) Holy Grail: Study Ties Internal Reporting, Business Outcomes —>Columbia Law School (November 6, 2018). Internal Whistleblowing’s Counterintuitive Impact on Lawsuits and Settlements —>CNBC. Robert Towey (November 11, 2018) Whistleblowers ultimately help their companies perform better, a new study shows —>Harvard Business Review. (November 14, 2018) Whistleblowers Are a Sign of Healthy Companies —>Corporate Counsel. Kristen Rasmussen. (November 14, 2018) Higher Use of Internal Whistleblowing Hotlines Means Fewer Lawsuits: Research —>Radical Compliance. Matt Kelly. (November 14, 2018) Ethics, Compliance, and Corporate Value —>Yahoo.(November 24, 2018) A new study shows why companies whose employees blow the whistle on wrongdoing perform better —>AFP. (November 26, 2018) Whistleblowers making a difference in business —>Fact.MR. Rahul Pandita. (November 27, 2018) Whistleblowers on Wrongdoing Help Companies Perform Better, Finds a New Study —>NYU Law (December 4, 2018) The Vital Report that Directors are Overlooking —>Forbes. Maggie McGrath and Alex Konrad. (December 10, 2018) A Surprising Push By The Invisible Hand: Why More Companies Are Doing Better By Being Good. —>European CEO. (2019) Whistle while you work: the benefits of corporate whistleblowing —>Radical Compliance. Matt Kelly. (March 12, 2019) Dissecting the Ethics PremiumMore Reliable —>MarketWatch (May 16, 2019) NAVEX Global’s Chief Compliance Officer Featured at Compliance Week 2019 —>SCCE Compliance Perspectives Podcast. (July 16, 2019) Helpline Activity Research —>Constantine Cannon. (July 22, 2019) Interview with George Washington University Professor Kyle Welch on his Corporate Whistleblowing Research —>Radical Compliance. Matt Kelly. (September 8, 2019) Sharp(ie) Insights Into Speakup Culture —>National Whistleblower Center. Tinker Ready (November 14, 2019) Study: Secondhand whistleblower reports are reliable —>Columbia Law School. (November 18, 2019) Are Secondhand Internal Whistleblowing Reports Credible? —>Compliance Week. Tom Fox. (November 18, 2019) Data-driven compliance can create business success —>Compliance into the Weeds Pod Cast. Tom Fox. (November 19, 2019) EPISODE 147-SECONDHAND WHISTLEBLOWER REPORTING —>Deseret News. (November 21, 2019) The real cost of impeachment? Discouraging future whistleblowers —>Radical Compliance. Matt Kelly. (November 1, 2019) Study: Second-Hand Reports —>Radical Compliance. Matt Kelly. (November 6, 2019) More on Internal Reporting Data —>Harvard Business Review. (January 14, 2020) Throw Out Your Assumptions About Whistleblowing —>National Law Review. (January 15, 2020) Secondhand Whistleblower Reports are More Valuable, Study Finds —>The Society for Human Resource Managemen (SHRM) All Things Work Podcast —>CFO Magazine. (February 7, 2020) Don’t Discount Secondhand Whistleblower Reports —>US Congress Oversight Committee (Jan 28, 2020) Protecting Those Who Blow the Whistle on Government Wrongdoing —>Corporate Board Member (March 5, 2020) When Lack Of A Red Flag Is A Red Flag —>Security Magazine (April 2020) New Research on Whistleblowing. p.26-27 —>Fraud Eats Strategy (September 23, 2020) Active Whistleblower Hotlines Boost the Bottomline —>AdWeek (June 17, 2020) What Happens When You’re Defensive and Dismissive
Periodical summary of research cited in the United States Congressional Committee on Oversight and Reform
—>National Whistleblower Center Letter to Congress. (January 30, 2020) Hearing on “Protecting Those Who Blow the Whistle on Government Wrongdoing”
—>Bloomberg. Matt Levine. Money Stuff (April 19, 2017): Fraud, Satisfaction and Bubbles "This is so lovely and straightforward that I almost can't believe it worked" —>Reuters. James Saft. (April 26, 2017): When online employee ratings tip fraud —>Columbia Law School (April 19, 2017): Weak Corporate Culture Creates Risk of Inaccurate Financial Reporting —>Henry Horne. Melissa E. Loughlin-Sines (May 17, 2017) Corporate culture and the occurrence of fraud —>PCAOB (June 5, 2018) Corporate Culture: Implications for the Audit —>Glassdoor (June 16, 2017) The Surprising Link Between Corporate Culture and Fraud ESG and Employees ->Institutional Investor (June 02, 2020) ESG Isn’t Enough for Alpha: But add in happy employees, and companies do tend to outperform ->KelloggInsight (June 9, 2020) Some Companies Actually Do See Financial Returns on Their Social Investments. Here’s What They Have in Common. ->Financial Times (June 14, 2020) Will responsible investment continue to receive support? ->Wealth Professional (June 8, 2020) ESG out-performance requires a human touch ->Columbia Law School (June, 2020) The Need for Employee Buy-in for ESG to Work
—>Bloomberg (Nov. 3, 2020)Oversight of Private Equity, Fund Values Set for Overhaul —>All About Alpha (March 16, 2017): Private Equity Alpha and a Disappearing Act —>Vanguard (August 2015): The allure of the outlier: A framework for considering alternative investments —>Wallick, D.W., Wimmer, B.R. and Balsamo, J.J., The buck stops here: Vanguard money market funds. —>McKinsey & Company (November 2017): Equity investments in unlisted companies —>Aon Hewitt. September 2014. A Holistic Approach to Equity Investing —>INSEAD & Pevara (December 2014): PRIVATE EQUITY NAVIGATOR —>Chief Investment Officer (January 15, 2014): Dispersing the ‘Diversification Illusion’ of Private Equity —>Chief Investment Officer (January 22, 2014): Has Volatility Turned Pensions off Private Equity? —>(February 13, 2014) Harvard Loses Private Equity Chief to Fidelity Family Office —>Schroders 14/03/2014: Wide of the Mark —>Pieria (Mar 18th 2014): Since value is key, ignoring price can actually be the right thing to do; Schroders 14/03/2014 —>Meditation on Money Management (January 16, 2014) Refuting Private Equity’s Claims —>Savvy Investor: The Best Private Equity Papers – 2017 Q1
—>World Trademark Review (July 10, 2017): Groundbreaking study suggests trademark count, rather than patent count, is a better predictor of innovation —>Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law (CIPIT). (January 4 2018): Intellectual Property Collateralisation in the Age of the Movable Property Security Rights Act: The Case of Nakumatt Supermarkets —>The Cognate Blog (2017) : Study Suggests Trademark Count Better Indicator of Innovation Than Patent Count —>The Cognate (2018): The Case for Putting All Trademarks on Blockchain —>Dawn Ellmore Employment (2017): Could Trade Marks be Better than Patents as Future Innovation Predictors? —>Owen, Wickersham & Erickson. (August 1, 2017): Study Finds A Trademark Portfolio Is Best Indicator of Innovation —>Duets. Steve Baird.(August 28th, 2017): No Underestimating The Value of Trademarks —>Law Inspiring. Billy Whyte. (July 21, 2017): Trademarks, Signaling, and Innovation Presented At: —>United States Patent and Trademark Office —>2018 International Trademark Association: Brands & Innovation Conference
—>Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation (March 26, 2017): Does the Market Value Professional Directors? —>BMP (August 21, 2017): Electing Directors with Consequences — Methods for Board of Directors Elections Matter —>Bull Fax (March 23, 2017): Does the Market Value Professional Directors?
Donald Trump Financial Statements
Professor Kyle Welch was quoted in a Washington Post article, “How Donald Trump inflated his net worth to lenders and investors.” The article was carried by: Baltimore Sun, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, the Denver Post, Houston Chronicle, LA Times, Mercury News, Newsday, Orlando Sentinel, Philadelphia Inquirer, Seattle Times, and St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Professor Welch’s comments also were quoted in separate articles in Vanity Fair, Newsweek and New York magazine, and by Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow on MSNBC.
The initial disclosures are fascinating. Accounting firms are typically paid to write a letter that accompanies financial statements to 1) inform the reader that accounting firm reviewed the document for material reporting issues, and 2) inform the reader that the document follows a specific set of accounting rules. The letters from accounting firms in the Washington Post documents informed the reader that there was no review of information and that the disclosures didn’t follow any GAAP rules. There is nothing innately problematic with this as this was not a disclosure for a public company. That said, if a public company was to release a statement like this, their stock would take a catastrophic hit. This is a financial statement for a private individual, and it appears the accounting firm was employed, multiple times, to intentionally make this material disclosure about these statements. Engaging an accounting firm to not check numbers and to not audit disclosures within a set of GAAP rules, but only to disclose this lack of review is not typical (we have limited disclosure and visibility to private firm financial statements so we don’t know the frequently this unusual approach is taken).
As a result of the disclosure, inaccuracy within the statement is probably not criminal. Here are a few reasons why:
1) Appropriate disclosures were made to qualify the statements as not being checked and following no accounting principles or rules.
2) From what we know, these are not documents submitted for taxes but provided to establish “financial condition” and we don’t know to who. The obvious problems that sophisticated readers (e.g. banks or insurance companies) would observe, could be missed by unsophisticated readers (e.g. reporters or content producers) that don’t have a strong legal claim to financial statement accuracy.
3) If these statements were given to banks or insurance firms, these organizations are sophisticated enough to clearly see the problems and to not use them. It is very unlikely the documents were used in a material way by these institutions. The banks have their own set of rules and if this made it past the process of a bank or insurance firm, the bank/insurance firm has serious human capital/protocol problems. This would be a major public embarrassment for a firm to admit to using the documents as core source materials.
4) Most companies (e.g. bank/insurance firms) are not litigious towards customers unless they have losses.
As a result, the financial statements are unlikely to be criminal or even problematic for President Trump. However, if you are remotely familiar with accounting and financial reporting, President Donald Trump’s statements of financial condition are entertaining to read.
Related Quote: U.S. Supreme Court Trump’s Financial Records in Trump v. Mazars —>ProPublica (May 6, 2020) Meet the Shadowy Accountants Who Do Trump’s Taxes and Help Him Seem Richer Than He Is